Council highlights recycling concerns

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MANISTEE — Manistee officials began discussions about the city’s recycling center at a work session on Tuesday, identifying problems the facility faces and possible solutions.

Currently, the city’s recycling center is provided through a contract with Allied Waste that runs through September 2015. The center is located at the Department of Public Works and is open to the public 24/7.

City officials and council members have expressed concerns at recent meetings that the facility is being used by non-city residents and that individuals are placing non-recyclables at the area.

“When all that trash is left, we have to have staff pick it up and take it to our dumpsters,” said DPW director Jeff Mikula. “It isn’t a huge time commitment, but it does take away from other things that we are doing. I do have some concerns with having that yard wide open to everybody. I don’t know that there is stuff going on, but there could be. And, there could be more opportunities to do more with that yard if it was secure.

Mikula expressed concerns that the area is always open when it houses expensive equipment. He added that the recycling center causes congestion during winter months when people are trying to recycle and the DPW is attempting to prepare its fleet for road plowing.

With its contract ending next fall, the city will likely send a request for proposals in the spring regarding trash hauling, Manistee city manager Mitch Deisch said on Tuesday. He added that the city could begin discussions with Manistee County to partner with its recycling program.

The county has seven recycling areas throughout the county, and commissioner Alan Marshall said on Tuesday that a possible partnership could mean two more in Manistee.

“Separate townships have their recycling,” Marshall said. “Not every township in the entire county has county recycling. There’s no doubt that whether the drop site is in Kaleva, Arcadia or Onekama, people from other townships and counties are using them. Just like there’s no doubt that down here at the drop site for the city, I’m guessing there’s people from outside the city (using it).”

Council member Eric Gustad said it may be logical to partner with the county as county residents are likely already using Manistee’s facility. Regardless of whether or not the city chooses to partner with the county, city officials said on Tuesday that they will look at new locations for the recycling center to alleviate the concerns with using the DPW area.

The council also discussed reducing the hours or implementing enforcement methods to ensure that only city residents are using the facility. Council member Chip Goodspeed suggested rearranging storage at the DPW to move the recycling center. Staff will examine possible locations and return to the council with its findings.

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Posted by Eric Sagonowsky

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